Trailing is a technique to help you walk safely through hallways and rooms. It can also help you stay walking in a straight line and be used to learn more about what is around you. Trailing can also help you feel more secure while you walk, by keeping in contact with walls, countertops, desks or tables.

The following checklist is a guide to using this technique.

  • Stand with the side of your body about six inches from the wall.
  • Extend your hand in front of you at hip level and angled downward toward the floor, about 12 inches from your body.
  • Touch the wall with the back of your hand. Tuck your thumb into your palm and then curl your fingers inwards around your thumb. This helps prevent injury if you contact an object.
  • Keep your arm and hand in this position as you walk forwards. 
  • You can apply this technique using the side of your hand if you prefer. 
  • If you come across an object, take a few moments to examine and identify it.
  • If you come across a doorway, stop and listen and use upper body protection before moving off. 
  • Trailing can also provide you with a feeling of security while you walk, by allowing you to remain in contact with walls, countertops, desks, tables, or other types of stationary surfaces. You can also use upper or lower body protection with your free hand for extra security

The images below demonstrate the trailing technique:

  1. Picture shows a Guide Dogs staff member standing next to a run of cupboards. She is approximately six inches away from the cupboard, with her right hand placed against the surface
  2. Picture shows a Guide Dogs staff member raising her right hand to hip level. The knuckles on the back of her right hand are lightly touching the cupboard surface, and her fingers are curled in around her thumb.
  3. Picture shows a Guide Dogs staff member demonstrating how you can use side of your hand to trail, making sure her fingers and thumb are tucked in.
  4. Picture shows a Guide Dogs staff member using the trailing technique along a cupboard surface while also using upper body protection.